Letter: Important titles to add to the list

Published: 6/29/2020 12:01:16 AM

While I was happy to see the article “20+ books on Black history, racism” on the Books page of the June 21 Sunday Monitor, especially the inclusion of Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk and The Fire Next Time, Wright’s Native Son, Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, as a longtime student of African American literature I find myself rather appalled by the absence of the following works.

Let’s start with three plays: LeRoi Jones’s (Amiria Baraka’s) Diutchman, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, and August Wilson’s Fences (and there are good movie adaptations of these plays). Let’s add at least four poets (there are more, but these will do for starters): Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rober Hayden, and Rita Dove. Then there are these “classics” that must be included: W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of BlackFolks; Martin Luther King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail”; Richard Wright’s autobiography Black Boy, Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man; Alice Walker’s novel Meridian; Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved; The Autobiography of Malcolm X (movie adaptation by Spike Lee); Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Finally, here are a few recommendations of white writers on race: William Faulkner, “The Bear” (from Go Down, Moses) and his great novel Absalom, Absalom!; William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Pudd’nhead Wilson.



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